Thursday, May 28, 2009

Barcelona: Una Fiesta de Fuego

Back in the olden days, my high school team mates and I referred to a tennis player in the zone as "en fuego" - on fire. But on Saturday night in Barcelona, Juliana, Brett, and I discovered the true meaning of the phrase.

We were walking home, stuffed, from an all-you-can-eat Japanese buffet (yes, I'm aware of the irony of eating Japanese in Spain, but you have no idea how good this buffet is), when suddenly we heard loud crackling snaps and saw arcs of sparks down the street. Ignoring the stir fry protesting in my stomach, I sprinted down the empty avenue separating us from the action, only to discover one of the strangest sights of this year of travel: a pack of men dressed in red suits, some wearing horns, spraying the streets with sparklers and firecrackers as their audience looked on with admiring excitement and a bit of fear. 

I stepped out of the audience to get a better angle on the scene with my camera, only to be shooed away from the empty space of sidewalk by a huge horned and caped man. A few minutes later, the man and his partner touched their lit sparklers to the area where I had just been standing, which turned out to be thickly covered by fire crackers. How could I have missed that? The entire street seemed to explode, amping up many of the onlookers' bit of fear to barely contained terror. 

Afterwards, I asked a nearby man with his ears covered who was slowly shaking his head what was going on. 

"The Fiestas" he responded. His wife agreed.

"The Fiestas" she told me.

 Ah yes, those two little words that can explain every kind of fabulous  craziness in Spain. Every city has its Fiestas, and they rival any party I've seen elsewhere in the world. 

I still haven't been able to ascertain what exactly Barcelona was celebrating last weekend, but it was definitely something. This exploding street corner wouldn't be our last encounter with "The Fiestas." 

More to come...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WOW. Phew! Great shots of The Mystery Fiesta. How does it compare to fireworks from the Axtell-Peters' deck? I think I know.... mom